The German automakers are plugging in. Audi introduced its first PHEV, the A3 Sportback e-tron, in Geneva in February, and VW has promised an electric version of its blockbuster Golf later this year. Now Mercedes has unveiled its B-Class Electric Drive at this week’s New York Auto Show.
Daimler hasn’t offered many details, but it seems that the new EV sports a 134 hp motor with 228 pound-feet of torque, and a 28 kWh lithium-ion battery. It has a top speed of 100 mph and a range of “around 115 miles.” It’s scheduled to go on sale in the US in early 2014.
Back in July, Daimler said that the upcoming B-Class would be based on the MFA front-wheel-drive platform, and would be powered by a Tesla-developed drivetrain – including the motor, battery pack and power control circuitry.
Meanwhile, a couple of crusading reporters from the Australian magazines Motoring and Car Advice seemed to get a scoop when images and a drivetrain schematic of a plug-in S-Class were “inadvertently revealed” at a media presentation in Germany. However, it’s no secret that Mercedes has an S-Class PHEV in the pipeline. The company displayed its Vision S500 Plug in Hybrid concept at the 2009 Frankfurt show. It had a 3.5-liter V6 gas engine, a 45 kW electric motor and a 10 kWh lithium-ion battery.
2010 S400 Hybrid
Some have speculated that the new PHEV may appear when Mercedes reveals the details of its new S-Class models in May, but spokesman Jerry Stamoulis didn’t make that sound very likely. “The reality is that there is a lot of spec still to be confirmed; the car is so far away for us,” he told motoring.com.au last week.